Brookings continues with COVID restrictions on businesses

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 6:11 PM CDT
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The City of Brookings is continuing with certain restrictions on businesses.

As of Thursday, Brookings County has less than 75 Coronavirus cases linked to the area and the city is continuing to have local businesses follow COVID-19 restrictions.

With a vote of 6-1, the Brookings City Council decided to continue with regulations on the city’s businesses. Brookings City Council member, Nick Wendell says the city is working to avoid closing again.

"What we know, is that communities that have lifted restrictions too soon are seeing spikes in confirmed cases, and are having dire consequences. We don’t want to take a step backward,” Wendell said.

As of now, businesses can return to 50% capacity or a maximum of 10 customers, and employees are required to wear masks.

Wendell says these restrictions will benefit the city long-term.

Wendell said, “We also know that if we don’t control the spread of the Coronavirus now, and we don’t slow this growth that’s going to have a much more dire long-term economic consequence in our community.”

Michael Johnson’s family owns the Pheasant Restaurant and Lounge in Brookings and says the pandemic has forced their business to get creative.

Johnson said, “Boil it down to what is the skeleton that we have to offer? We decided that we are going to operate under three main principles which is to keep people fed, safe, and happy.”

The Pheasant opened its dining room with many safety measures implemented about two weeks ago.

Johnson says the Coronavirus is leaving many employees with a challenging decision.

"When people are at their job, they are sort of trapped between risking their health to make an income, or not having an income,” said Johnson.

Ultimately, Councilmember Wendell says the city is taking it day-by-day and says there are more COVID decisions to be made in the future.

"Lifting the restrictions now would be like going to work and clocking out at lunchtime with no plans to return, I don’t think we are at the end of the workday yet when it comes to our efforts to control the spread of the virus. There is more work to do and, in our community, we intend to link arms and do that together,” said Wendell.

Wendell says he expects restrictions to be upheld the rest of the summer.

Dakota News Now did reach out to the council member who voted against these restrictions and they were unavailable for comment today.